Afternoon catchup: 5 Butler County stories you need to know today

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Here’s a look at five big Butler County stories today to catch up on the news:

Customers, employees lament coming closure of 118-year-old Hamilton pharmacy

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Tears are flowing at the 118-year-old Hughes Pharmacy, which may be Hamilton’s oldest business, because it will close permanently Saturday.

The pharmacy’s lease expired in October, but the CORE (Consortium for Ongoing Reinvestment Efforts) Fund allowed it to remain until this weekend. Employees of the city’s last independent drug store will pack what remains of the business’ stock and other items into a truck on Saturday.

“It’s horrible. The patients come in here crying,” said pharmacist Jim Fescina. “They’re in tears. And we’re all crying with them.


Fairfield eyes property purchase to extend bike trail

One solution to extend the Great Miami River bike trail from Waterworks Park to Marsh Lake would involved Fairfield purchasing a 1-acre parcel at River Road and Groh Lane.

Fairfield City Council is considering the property purchase with the help of a Clean Ohio Grant through the Ohio Public Works Commission. Council did not give its approval Monday, holding the legislation to a first reading, as it may not be a certainty, said Public Works Director Ben Mann.

The board is expected to allow the city’s Public Works Department to apply for the grant Monday at a special meeting designed to discuss the city manager hiring process. The deadline to apply for the grant is Feb. 4.


Middletown opioid overdose deaths cut in half in 2020, but meth continues sharp rise

Middletown saw its opioid overdose deaths cut in half last year as total overdoses fell slightly, according to new data.

In the meantime, seizures of methamphetamine in the city have risen almost 11,000% since 2016, which officials say shows the changing habits of users.

Overdose deaths dropped from 48 in 2019 to 24 in 2020 as total overdoses decreases from 457 to 424 in the city, which was one of the region’s hardest hit by the overdose crisis of several years ago. That continued a drop in deaths from 77 in 2017 and 53 in 2018.


West Chester resident makes accusations against township officials after Capitol attack

A West Chester Twp. resident has accused several township officials of promoting or at least condoning violence that happened around the certification of the Electoral College votes earlier this month in Washington, D.C.

Patrick Barnett took the podium during the trustees’ meeting Tuesday and asked the board to oust Board of Zoning Appeals member Evan Thomas for posts he allegedly made on social media recently.

“In recent posts among other things Mr. Thomas calls for the hanging of certain individuals like the (Georgia) Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, he also calls for violence more generally,” Barnett said.


Pyramid Hill to feature exhibition in Hamilton to reflect on COVID-19 pandemic

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum is gearing up for an 11-week group exhibition, “Out of the Darkness,” which will display pieces expressing the impact of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Art can acknowledge and convey ideas, which words cannot express, so this exhibition aims to shed light on how artists are responding to the crisis and its aftermath,” said Gabi Roach, art and programming manager at Pyramid Hill.

She said the exhibit’s theme, “Out of the Darkness” can be interpreted as both a woeful and hopeful message. Some of the questions to be addressed through the art will include “How can we build back better?” “How will we use our newly acquired knowledge to prepare for future crises?” and “Will we unite at this critical junction, or continue to tear into our fellow man, because of political and ideological differences?”


AND, for an extra sixth story of the day ...

PHOTOS: Middletown City Schools teachers get COVID-19 vaccines

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Middletown City Schools employees were some of the first teachers in Ohio to receive their Covid-19 vaccines Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at Middletown High School.